NHL Free Agents: Are the NJ Devils Making a Mistake in Not Keeping Petr Sykora?
Expect Petr Sykora to sign with an NHL team other than the Devils.— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) January 10, 2013
You know, Petr Sykora, the player that the team brought in for the 2011-12 season and paid a bargain basement salary of $650,000. For that low, low price he provided the hockey club with 21 goals and 23 assists, good enough to tie him for number seven on the scoring chart for the club.
The player that Sykora tied with was Dainius Zubrus, who took home $3.4 million for his 44 points. Zubrus, in the final year of his deal with the Devils, will earn the same salary for the 2013 season, well, at least the pro-rated portion of that salary over the course of the shortened season.
I know that Sykora’s playoff numbers weren’t so hot during the Devils run to the 2012 Stanley Cup finals (2G, 3A in 18 games), but the team most likely could have signed Sykora for close to the same pay he received in 2012, after all, he remains an unsigned unrestricted free agent at this point, so interest in his services are most likely lukewarm at best.
Should the Devils keep Sykora?
A $650,000 risk is a drop in the bucket for a team that is below the salary cap and coming off a run to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s also a risk that the Devils really may want to look at taking when they consider what the summer of 2013 will hold for the team.
Nine players will be eligible for free agency next summer, among them Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique. That will surely cause some issues for the team as the salary cap drops and the entire NHL gets thrown into the world of the next CBA.
I guess what I’m saying is the Devils have a known commodity in Parise and his services can be obtained for a song. Why not make an effort to keep as much of the team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals last year together as they can? They already have a gaping hole to fill with the departure of Zach Parise, why create another big question mark?
Let’s not forget the elephant in the room here as well, goaltending. The Devils have Martin Brodeur under contract for two more seasons, and then what?
The Devils best chance at another deep playoff run may very well be this year, now is not the time to take unnecessary risks.
If the door is still open for the Devils to sign Sykora they should let him walk on through and put pen to paper and rejoin the team for the 2013 season.
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